Leaders of South Dakota Democratic Party resign after more reports of financial problems

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KEVN) - The South Dakota Democratic Party continues to struggle as new reports show their financial problems. Two of the party's leaders are now stepping down.

South Dakota Democratic Party owes nearly $47,000. (KEVN)

According to the party's vice chair Randy Seiler, Executive Director Stacey Burnette and Chair Paula Hawks filed their resignations Monday.

A report filed with the Federal Election Commission shows the state Democratic Party's committee owes $46,863.73.

According to the October list of debts most bills are related to promotional supplies but there are two main hefty expenses on the list.

The committee owes $11,983.99 to a computer consulting group in Maryland called The Sutton Group.

An additional bill of $5,845.68 is owed to the Sioux Falls Convention Center.

The report also shows the committee is facing a negative cash balance of $8,651.27.

The two leaders who stepped down were in their positions for a short time. Former Chair Paula Hawks was elected in April and assumed the position in May. Stacey Burnette, former executive director started in August. With the new change in positions now, Seiler will temporarily assume the chair position.

Certified Financial Planner Rick Kahler said it seems like the party's mismanagement of money is similar to a common problem many Americans face.

"Well the average American has zero net worth. The average American lives month to month. Fifteen percent of Americans have a negative net worth. So in this case, this particular organization isn't much different than 15 percent of Americans," Kahler said.

To combat some of this debt, the party closed two main offices just last month in Sioux Falls and in Rapid City.

See related story South Dakota Democratic Party offices closing

Seiler said they will "move forward" despite these issues.

He said, "democracy works best with two parties and we will work hard to provide that."

Seiler said the party will have an emergency meeting on Saturday at noon in Fort Pierre to search for the next executive director.